👋 Hey there, welcome to the WalletBurst monthly newsletter for the month of March 2022.
Around the web
🏦 My favorite read from this month was an essay titled Just Say No to CBDCs which dives deep into Central Bank Digital Currencies (CBDCs), including what they are, how they work, why CBDCs are likely to become widespread in the near future, and why we should be concerned. The essay begins with a hilarious but plausible narrative detailing what daily life could look like when CBDCs become widespread in the future. Given that China is already taking the lead on CBDCs with the Digital Yuan, the USA will be forced to offer up an equally functional CBDC to maintain the position of the US dollar in the global financial system. I believe it is not a matter of if but rather when the USA launches a CBDC, and we need guardrails in place to limit the power that the state can wield on citizens through a centrally planned digital currency. The author N.S. Lyons captures this perfectly, writing:
“… in the United States there happens to be no constitutional right enshrining the freedom to conduct property transactions. Which is very convenient for circumventing all those other pesky rights if their bearers happen to stand in the way of the greater good. Freedom of speech? Sure, but it’s not much good if no one can buy those rabble-rousers’ books and they can’t buy ink, let alone web hosting services. Freedom of assembly? Sure, but only if they’re prepared to walk!”
We’ve already seen Canadian politicians weaponize the traditional financial system against their citizens during the recent trucker protests. CBDCs would amply this power and, if not kept in check, give governments unprecedented control of your everyday actions.
⬇️ Morgan Housel wrote a great article about the superpower of having Low Expectations. He quotes Charlie Munger, who at 98 years old stated: The first rule of a happy life is low expectations.Here are some more excerpts from Morgan’s article:
- “…low expectations and accepting frequent losses increase the odds of sticking around long enough to eventually be right enough to make up for it, and then some.”
- “Be OK with things staying roughly the way they are right now, or worse. Because for most people the way things are right now is indistinguishable from magic relative to how things used to be. Then any little improvements that happen to come along feel incredible.”
🌎 What if I told you that one of the most influential and powerful institutions in the world is a bank that you have likely never heard of? I’m talking about the Bank of International Settlements, or BIS. Preston Pysh and Sam Callahan uncover the mysterious BIS in their podcast I thoroughly enjoyed titled What does the BIS, IMF, & World Bank even do?
The BIS is essentially a “meta” bank that sits above the world central banks like the Federal Reserve and European Central Bank and provides them banking services. It acts as an extremely secretive, non-governmental bank which essentially ties together the global financial system. What’s interesting about the BIS is that it was setup under an international treaty after WWI which gives it complete legal immunity, meaning the bank and its employees are beyond the reach of any national or international law. If I’ve piqued your attention by now, you should definitely give the full podcast a listen as I found the history and influence of the BIS to be deeply interesting.
🏠 Here’s a crazy statistic that just about sums up the current state of the US housing market: according to Zillow, the appreciation in value of a typical home in the US exceeded the median income of a US worker in 2021. And in some markets, like San Jose, CA, home values increased by more than double the median local worker’s salary at over $200,000 in average price appreciation in 2021. You can read Zillow’s full study for more details.
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Have a great day,